I am having a tough allergy season with all of the pollen in the air. Mostly I have an itchy and runny nose along with sneezing. What non-prescription medications do you recommend?
There are a host of OTC options for seasonal allergies and specifically allergic rhinitis. It is best to steer clear of nasal decongestant sprays such as Afrin or oral products that contain multiple medications. You may benefit from the use of an intranasal corticosteroid such as Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour or Flonase. These medications will reduce itching, runny nose, sneezing and congestion. They are quite effective because they have multiple pharmacologic effects that impact the allergic symptoms at various cellular and biochemical levels. They do not usually work quickly, though, and may need to be used for several days before an effect is obvious. If this intervention does not provide you with comfort, you might consider adding an antihistamine. If you want to try this, make sure to begin with a non-sedating variety (examples: Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec). Your pharmacist can help you determine if this would be an appropriate approach.